‘BULL’ IN THE NAME DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN ‘BULLY’ IN NATURE
BULL Mastiff, BULL Arab, Staffordshire BULL Terrier, BULLdog - just some of the types of BULL breeds that have unfortunately had a negative stereotype placed on them. Subsequently over the years this stereotype has led many people to avoid adopting these breeds….. Here at AWL NSW we’ve got a more positive take on the subject, and hope that we can provide a little more food for thought regarding some of that negative stigma…..
We sat down with AWL NSW Behaviourist – Rosalie Horton (regularly seen on Channel 9’s ‘Dr Lisa To The Rescue’), to address just some of the many misconceptions surrounding BULL breeds. Here’s what Rosalie had to say:
“People associate the term ‘Bull’ with Pit Bull Terriers, which are a banned breed in Aust. Any breed can bite, they are dogs after all. Bull breeds - due to the negative and often untrue or exaggerated stigma attached - are more likely to be reported on the news and create even further fear in the community. Staffordshire Bull Terriers became extremely popular in 2000-2010, and we are now seeing the boom and bust as we have with other breeds – e.g. Dalmations in the 90s and German Shepherds in the 80s - this is why they are so widely seen in shelters. Today more and more people are wanting ‘designer’ dogs e.g. Cavoodles etc - we rarely see them in shelters - if we do they are adopted immediately, and the Staffy/Bull breeds are sadly left behind”.
Rosalie adds: “At AWL NSW we promote responsible pet ownership, that includes proper training and socialisation for life – along with ‘people training’ - knowing how to read dog behaviour and not putting them into situations that cause stress, where you may possibly get an aggressive reaction. That applies to any breed, not just Bull breeds.’’
Like all breeds, Bull breeds can make for great family pets when they’re properly trained and socialised. So before you buy into the scary stereotypes, read on to learn the truth behind a few common Bull breed myths.
Myth: Bully breeds are naturally aggressive and mean. According to the American Humane Association, on tests conducted in 2009 by the American Temperament Test Society, Bull breeds scored better than several breeds that are rarely associated with aggression - including Beagles and Collies.
Additionally, research conducted in 2000 by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that no specific breed of dog is inherently vicious. A spokesperson at the American National Canine Research Council has been quoted as saying that - in most cases - any dog that has a tendency to attack is responding at least in part to owners who have either neglected the dog or failed to give it proper socialisation and training.
Myth: Bully breeds are prone to locking their jaws, and have a stronger bite than any other dog. Research conducted at the University of Georgia shows that Bull breeds don’t show any mechanical differences in jaw structure when compared to other dogs — nor do their jaws come equipped with locking capabilities.
In relation to jaw strength, a 2005 National Geographic study measured force of bite for several creatures as pounds of bite pressure. On average, dogs exhibited about 320 pounds of pressure (145.15kg), while humans came in at 120 pounds (54.43kg) and great white sharks at 600 (272.15kg). The study also included a simulated bite sleeve test with a German shepherd, a Rottweiler and Pit Bull Terrier. The Pit Bull actually registered the least amount of pressure among the group.
Myth: Bully breeds are not safe to adopt or rescue because of unknown genetic history. There’s no actual evidence to suggest that Bull breeds are a riskier adoption choice than any other types of breeds. While you may not be able to learn as much about a rescue dog’s genetic history as you would with a dog from a breeder, the staff at animal rescues and shelters such as AWL NSW have a very good idea of dogs’ recent histories and current temperaments. At the very least, they can speak as to how a dog has behaved since it’s been at their facility.
Of the many dogs available in shelters, Bull breeds are among those most in need of adoption. In general, they are loveable, loyal and energetic, especially when given the proper socialisation and training.
As an incentive to create awareness of these misconceptions and draw your attention to the more positive BULL Breed traits, AWL NSW is offering a discounted adoption fee of just $80 on all the gorgeous Bull breeds in both our Kemps Creek and Ingleside Shelters. Check these cuties out - do they really look that frightening to you? Don’t let a handful of unfounded myths keep you from opening your arms and home to one of the many Bull breeds in need of a loving forever home.